If you're still at a loss as to what to whip up to give to neighbors or coworkers, consider giving these a try. Even if you have no experience in making candy, be not afraid, because these are seriously easy. Seriously.
Every Christmas, my mother-in-law makes the most delicious caramels. They're so light and soft and perfect! I always eat too many and find extra reasons to hover around the bowl on top of the piano.
We're far away from my in-laws this year, so I'm missing them! And I'm missing those caramels. So I whipped some up.
I don't know how my mother-in-law makes hers so light -- mine weren't so light in color, but they were heavenly all the same. If you like your caramels firmer, you can omit the cream at the end.
Just don't eat them all by yourself. Don't ask me how I know...
Easy, Soft Caramels
1 c. butter
1, 16 oz. (one pound) light brown sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
2 c. half & half
1/4 c. heavy cream
Line 8x8" pan with parchment paper and set aside. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and half & half and mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and continue boiling, stirring mixture frequently until it reaches 240º when tested with a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cream. Quickly (and carefully) pour into prepared pan and allow to cool. When cool, use a sharp knife to cut into uniform squares and wrap each in waxed paper or parchment paper.
Store at room temperature for up to one week, if they last that long. :)